Prior to interviewing Maria Tan, a zero-waste advocate and a CLEO 2018 Change Maker, I didn’t think any city dweller would bother making their own toothpaste. I mean, commercial toothpaste costs as much as a plate of economy rice, which is not much. And since it’s cheap and readily available, why invest time and energy into making it at home? I’d rather use those 10 minutes to continue vegetating in front of the TV, thanks very much.
But during our chat, Maria explained that she makes hers from scratch because it allows her to generate far less waste than if she were to buy a plastic tube off the shelf—she either gets the ingredients from packaging-free stores or from friends with extras. She also shared that, in doing so, she’s able to know exactly what goes into the one thing that she uses to clean her mouth.
It hit me that it’s pretty much like how people make their own bread even though it’s also cheap and readily available. And that whether it’s because they want to know what goes into their food or so that they can save some money, it’s actually a pretty decent reason.
So out of sheer curiosity, I decided to make my own too. Check out the video below to see how I did it.
My verdict? It tastes better than you’d expect because I used pure peppermint oil. I’d go as far as to say it gives me fresher breath than commercial toothpastes do, but the thing is—and you can see my reaction to it in the video—that a toothpaste made from a recipe like that comes with mud-like texture. This will take a bit of getting used to since it’s pretty different from the gel-like one we have come to accept, and it doesn’t help that the bits and bobs tend to get stuck in the crevices of my teeth. This, however, is nothing some water can’t solve.
I used it for a week straight to see if it’s something I would use long-term. Besides, it cost me (or CLEO) $33 to make, so I wanted to get some mileage out of it (which reminds me—I speculated in the video that you might be able to enjoy some savings making your own toothpaste instead, but with how a full jar or two cost that much, I was clearly wrong). I dreaded brushing my teeth the first three days, but subsequently didn’t mind the texture as much.
Will I continue using it? Not every day, for sure, but maybe once a week just so I get to switch things up. After all, there’s a lot of controversy surrounding fluoride, which is found in just about every commercial toothpaste, so it might be a good idea to go with the “healthier” or “natural” option from time to time. I can’t say it’s something I’ll ever make again, especially since the ingredients weren’t from a packaging-free store and I wasn’t, well, zero-waste about it, but it was a novel thing to do for sure. And more importantly, you’re more than able to try it out for yourself. Geddit?